Summer's Cool

Accelerated Degrees, Comprehensive Course List Draw Ever Larger Numbers of Summer Students

by Fernando Quintero

This summer, explore cyberspace from a feminist perspective or get ready for one of Berkeley's most anticipated cultural events with a course called "Behind the Scenes at the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition."

Berkeley Summer Sessions is offering several new courses this year as well as more standard classes that are hard to get during the regular school season.

(University Extension also offers summer courses.)

Nearly 10,500 students attended summer sessions last year. Director Gary Penders said he predicts a 10 percent increase this summer over last.

"Enrollment is strong because we're becoming more comprehensive with each year that passes," Penders said. "We try to accommodate the needs of a variety of students."

This year, summer sessions will offer new six- and three-week sessions in addition to its regular eight- and 10-week programs to allow more visiting students to enroll in the courses. The number of classes being offered will increase from 360 last year to close to 400 this summer.

Penders said the main reason for summer sessions' growing popularity is because more undergraduates are working to accelerate progress toward their degrees.

"Classes are tough here at Berkeley. A number of students who drop a required class during the regular school year decide to take it again during the summer," explained Penders.

"There are also a number of students who want to get out a semester or two early. Low-income students have an especially strong desire to get out into the workforce as quickly as possible."

In order to reach more students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, Penders said the summer program will offer discounted registration for undergraduates on financial aid and receiving $1,000 or less in family support.

As part of the Berkeley Pledge, Chancellor Tien's commitment to renew the university's partnership with the state's public schools, Penders said summer sessions will for the first time offer classes off-campus at three high schools in Fremont and one in Cupertino.

"We're aiming to involve more high school students--the targeted population of the Berkeley Pledge-- in our classes," said Penders.

Other special programs offered this year include an American Studies Institute, a three-week program aimed primarily at foreign students that will explore American literature and humanities, history and social science, and popular culture.

Looking ahead, Penders said he hopes to expand the number of travel-study opportunities. Programs are available in Barbados; Florence, Italy; and Guanajuato, Mexico. A new program in Zimbabwe will be added this summer.

For more information on summer sessions, call 642-9611 or visit the office at 22 Wheeler Hall.

Enrollment is also underway for UC Berkeley Extension summer courses, featuring a range of topics from "Interracial Children and Their Families" to "Egypt in the First Millennium B.C."

More than 725 daytime, evening and weekend courses will be offered at locations throughout the Bay Area. Most classes begin in June.

Through new technologies such as a closed-circuit network and classes offered via America Online, Extension also provides the opportunity to take a wider variety of courses without going to class.

For more information from Extension or to obtain a free catalog, call 642-4111. Class schedules and complete information are available on Extension's web site: http://www.unex.


Copyright 1996, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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